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Secretary's Message

May 14, 2019

Department of Juvenile Justice’s Weekly Letter

Welcome to our weekly letter, with the latest on what’s going on and what the team is doing across the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. I hope you will take a moment to read about the ways our DJJ staff, providers, and partners are working to improve the lives of Florida’s youth and families and how we are working to make our communities even better.

Please keep sharing your great work, successes, and accomplishments both on and off the clock in serving the youth, families, and communities touched by DJJ. Your stories inspire us all to do more. So, send your good news to news@djj.state.fl.us or call (850) 921–5900 by Thursday at noon.

Sincerely, 

Secretary Simone Marstiller

 


 

Staff Announcements and Kudos

Sharon G. Washington graduating from the Florida Leadership Academy.Congratulations to Sharon G. Washington, a supervisor in the Background Screening Unit, who recently graduated from the Florida Leadership Academy (FLA) in Pensacola. The FLA program is a vital part of the Florida Criminal Justice Executive Institute, located within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Bureau of Professional Development.

The FLA prepares first-line supervisors in criminal justice organizations to exemplify the character and integrity expected of criminal justice professionals and examines the various components necessary to be an effective leader.

Each unit of curriculum provides further insight towards proactive problem solving, effective communication, accountability and related leadership skills. Congratulations to Ms. Washington on her successful completion of the program and best wishes for continued success with FLA and in the criminal justice arena.

 


 

Northwest Region Residential team at its quarterly program directors meeting at the Panhandle Area Education Consortium in Chipley

Recently the Northwest Region Residential team held its quarterly program directors meeting at the Panhandle Area Education Consortium in Chipley. This meeting was well attended by program directors from across the region and other program area staff. Among the many agenda items covered, Regional Director Lori Jernigan had the honor of recognizing five NW Region staff for their years of service to DJJ. These five staff represent 100 years of service. Congratulations to Commitment Manager Stuart Wolcott with 40 years of service, Safety & Security Specialist Neil Stier with 25 years of service, Senior Management Analyst II Dwight Poole with 20 years of service, Operations Review Specialist Amy Daglish with 10 years of service, and Operations Review Specialist Patrice Richardson with 5 years of service. A special thank you to each of them for their dedication, hard work, compassion and sacrifice to ensure the youth and families served receive the best services available!

 


 

Beatrice WimbleyWe would like to extend best wishes to Beatrice Wimbley, known by DJJ staff as “Ms. Bea,” who recently retired after 15 years of service with DJJ.

Ms. Bea served as the administrative assistant with the Bureau of Finance and Accounting and was recently honored during a retirement reception, where her family and fellow team members came to show their love and support. Ms. Bea may be small in stature, but is huge in heart and dedication to her DJJ family. Ms. Bea was the “go to” person in DJJ’s Bureau of Finance and Accounting and she will truly be missed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Juvenile Detention Officer (JDO) II Merrick King from St. Lucie Regional Juvenile Detention CenterCongratulations to Juvenile Detention Officer (JDO) II Merrick King from St. Lucie Regional Juvenile Detention Center who was recently named April Employee of the Month. Thank you JDO King for your service to our youth!

 

 

 

 

 

JDO II Pamela Reddick from St. Lucie RJDCWe would also like to recognize JDO II Pamela Reddick from St. Lucie RJDC, who retired from DJJ in April. JDO Reddick served alongside the St. Lucie RJDC team for 34 years, and in that time, she wore many hats and played many roles. She was dedicated and faithful in her role as a juvenile detention officer and she strongly believed in the DJJ mission. We wish all the best to JDO Reddick in her retirement!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Residential Youth Rewarded With Trip to Adventure Landing

The youth from Hastings and Gulf Academy, both non-secure programs for boys, which are operated by TrueCore Behavioral Solutions, were recently rewarded for their positive behavior in the programs. One of the recent outings was to Adventure Landing in St. Augustine. The youth were able to ride go-carts, play miniature golf, and were given tokens to use in the arcade. In addition, each youth enjoyed pizza and drinks for lunch. Thank you to the staff members who supported the youth during this outing!

 


 

Youth from St. John's Youth Academy after completing his GED.St John’s Youth Academy, a secure program for boys operated by Sequel, continues to make strides with their vocational program. One of their youth in transition completed his GED and began working with the transition manager on job skills and job readiness. When the youth articulated a desire to attend a vocational school, he and several other youth visited the Tulsa Welding School in Jacksonville. He then took the entrance exam and was accepted into the school! He has been attending the school daily for three weeks. When asked about his experience, the youth stated that he enjoys the school and the experience has been great. He reported that he was thankful for the opportunity and was going to take full advantage of this chance to better himself. He will complete the class and be fully certified in October 2019. His mother has also committed to relocating to the area to allow him the opportunity to finish school, as he is scheduled to be released prior to graduating from Tulsa Welding School.

 


 

Youth at Broward YTC planting basil and mint.Earth Day is an annual event with the purpose of educating people about persisting environmental issues. It is now celebrated worldwide with over 193 countries participating.  At Broward Youth Treatment Center, a non-secure program for boys operated by Youth Opportunity Investment, they wanted to give the youth at the program an opportunity to help contribute to the purpose of environmental awareness. Youth are not only made to care about their own self-interests, but the interests of others and their environments alike. Some of the youth helped to clean up loose trash around the facility. Others helped tend to the garden by dispersing fresh soil and planting basil and mint. Seeds were also and the program hopes to see the fruits of their gardening labor soon.

 


 

Youth from Center For Success and Independence - Ocala.Center for Success and Independence – Ocala, a non-secure program for boys operated by Youth Opportunity Investment, recently helped assist a member of their local community. Several youth went into the Williston community to participate in renovating a home. The youth had the opportunity to assist with repairs outside and inside the home. Their services included removing cabinets, baseboards, and broken appliances. Everyone took part in the cleaning of the lawn. The grass was mowed, broken branches were cleared, and hedges were trimmed. Following the long day of hard work, the youths were treated to Pizza Hut.

 


 

Youth from Cypress Creek JOCC participating in fitness compilation event.At Cypress Creek Juvenile Offender Correctional Center, a secure program for boys operated by TrueCore Behavioral Solutions, Recreational Therapist Terrence Clark conducted a fitness compilation event against time. The selected youth were challenged to complete 50 pushups, 50 resistance band squats, and 50 reps on an ab wheel. Mr. Clark advised the youth on the benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) training and its benefits for cardiovascular health and muscle toning. One youth from the Charlie Dorm completed the three set 50 rep challenge in 3:53 minutes. Great work!

 


 

Youth from Hastings Comprehensive Mental Health Treatment Facility and Gulf Academy touring UF.The youth from Hastings Comprehensive Mental Health Treatment Facility and Gulf Academy, both non-secure programs for boys which are operated by TrueCore Behavioral Solutions, who have passed at least two areas of the GED test attended their first college tour at the University of Florida in Gainesville. The tour started with a welcome and short video produced by students of the University which describes student life at the university. 

After the informational session, the youth began a 90-minute walking tour of the 2,000-acre campus, viewing lecture halls, various living dorms, dining halls, libraries, recreational gyms, and of course “the Swamp”, which on any given Saturday during the fall semester is filled with over 90,000 fans cheering on the Florida Gators football team. The goal was to show the youth that opportunities for success are available to them.

 


 

Probation Staff Attends Breakfast with the Chief Event in Lake City

Circuit 3 Probation Reform Specialist Michelle Galloway recently attended the Lake City Police Department’s “Breakfast with the Chief” eventCircuit 3 Probation Reform Specialist Michelle Galloway recently attended the Lake City Police Department’s “Breakfast with the Chief” event. During the event, Ms. Galloway assisted Police Chief Argatha Gilmore with a presentation regarding the civil citation program which has been implemented by the Lake City Police Department. Ms. Galloway shared with the group the benefits of civil citation to both the youth and their community. She stated that a civil citation provides youth with a chance to learn from their mistakes and still have opportunities down the road, so they do not suffer as adults from poor judgments they made when they were kids. This program will assist youth to become contributing members of their community. This is a great collaborative effort between DJJ and the Lake City Police Department!


 

Twin Oaks’ Project Connect program proudly nominated four exceptional youth who were recently awarded and recognized at the Escambia County Youth Success Night. Twin Oaks’ Project Connect program proudly nominated four exceptional youth who were recently awarded and recognized at the Escambia County Youth Success Night. Collectively, these youth have demonstrated positive progress in areas such as school attendance, grades, leadership skills, probation sanctions, and attainment of a driver’s permit. Some have received their food handler certification and participated in positive mentoring activities. Project Connect congratulates these youth for their outstanding efforts and achievements!

 

 

 


 

Circuit 4 Reform Specialist Donna Collins attended the recently Stop Now and Plan (SNAP) Graduation. Circuit 4 Reform Specialist Donna Collins attended the recently Stop Now and Plan (SNAP) Graduation. There were four families with their youth who attended for 13 weeks. It was a graduation full of positive affirmations, achievement, and support. Kudos to the SNAP team, which is under the supervision of Stepheny Durham.

 

 

 


 

Staff from Circuit 5 Probation recently participated in a team-building event. Juvenile Probation Officers Veronica Hudson, Shequita Mitchell, Jazmin Filer, Lisa Kielbon, Kimberly Parker-Wicker, Amanda Dery; Senior Juvenile Probation Officers Melissa Ahern, Jennifer Alcantar; and Juvenile Probation Officer Supervisor Meghan Thrasher, participated in a painting party as a team building and morale boosting activity.

Everyone had a great time expressing themselves through art! Although the group received the same instructions on the painting, everyone was able to put their individual spin on things. The ability to be creative is a great tool that can cross over into working with youth and coming up with creative ways to encourage and help them along their paths to success. Circuit 5 plans to attend similar events in the future to inspire good camaraderie and teamwork.

Staff from Circuit 5 Probation recently participated in a team-building event.

Front row (left to right): Veronica Hudson-JPO, Jazmin Filer-JPO, Meghan Thrasher-McNabb-JPOS, Melissa Ahern-SJPO, Kimberly Parker-Wicker-JPO, Jennifer Alcantar-SJPO, Vincent Verstraete Back Row (left to right): Shequita Mitchell-JPO, Nathaniel Jackson, Jess McNabb, Rafael Diaz, Lisa Kielbon-JPO, Jerome Wicker, Amanda Dery-JPO, Nicholaus Dery-JPO Screener

 


 

Detention Youth Participate in Words Unlocked Contest

Hillsborough Regional Juvenile Detention Center participated in the Words Unlocked 2019 Contest Congratulations to the youth from Hillsborough Regional Juvenile Detention Center, who participated in the Words Unlocked 2019 Contest sponsored by the Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings. Students wrote poems that centered around the topic “Transcendence”.

There were over 30 participants and the top 6 were selected as winners. As part of the prize, a free lunch of their choice was awarded to each winner. Thank you to both the detention center staff as well as the education department for helping these youth in taking home the top honors. The poems were displayed in the visitation area for parents to see and in the main hallway.

Hillsborough Regional Juvenile Detention Center-West also celebrated Mother’s Day by having a breakfast in honor of both the mothers and honorary mothers at the center. Hillsborough Regional Juvenile Detention Center-West also celebrated Mother’s Day by having a breakfast in honor of both the mothers and honorary mothers at the center. Both detention and administration staff participated and a great time was had by everyone!

 

 

 

 

 


 

St. Lucie RJDC youth wearing their ties.St. Lucie Regional Juvenile Detention Center has recently initiated a new program called Time to Tie a Tie. The program teaches the young men how to properly tie a necktie. Sgt. Mildred Towns teaches the classes on a monthly basis, and the youth are always eager to participate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also at St. Lucie RJDC, the team celebrated Nursing Week by honoring the nurses that serve at the center. Clinic Manager Joan Lomonaco and LPN Donna Caldwell both received gifts of appreciation for their efforts in caring for the youth. Tiffany Baez, medical records clerk, was also celebrated for her dedication and hard work. The gifts were purchased by St. Lucie RJDC administrators.

St. Lucie RJDC, the team celebrated Nursing Week   St. Lucie RJDC, the team celebrated Nursing Week   St. Lucie RJDC, the team celebrated Nursing Week

 


 

The Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center met for an all hands meeting last week

The Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center met for an all hands meeting last week. Medical, mental health, and other training sessions were completed as well as presentations of ‘Orange Tough’ awards.

An Orange Tough Award is presented to staff at the Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center who best exemplify the toughness that is required to work at Orange RJDC and who exhibit the following qualities: integrity, loyalty, decisiveness, leadership, and toughness. Anyone who works for Detention Services at the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice is tough, but staff who work at the Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center, the largest detention center located in Orlando, are “Orange Tough.” Nine staff members were given the award, which features a pip that can be worn on the uniform that is unique to the Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center and features an orange with the word ‘tough’ across it.

ammy Druley and Employee from Orange RJDCAlso, at Orange RJDC, Tammy Druley with the League of Women Voters stopped by the detention center and provided breakfast for C shift and A shift to show the community’s appreciation for the detention officers. Ms. Druley also presented Orange RJDC with a plaque in honor of National Corrections Officers & Employees Week.

 

 

 

 

Captain Reginald Allen with the Orange RJDC was asked to participate in the 2019 Enforcement Annual TrainingCaptain Reginald Allen with the Orange RJDC was asked to participate in the 2019 Enforcement Annual Training, which is sponsored by the Florida Department of Health. Captain Allen taught two training sessions on situational awareness. Captain Allen used his experience as a retired law enforcement officer and his current experience as a captain in his presentations.

 

 

 

 


 

The administration staff from the Miami Dade RJDC recently honored the facility’s exceptional nurses with a breakfast for all to enjoy. The administration staff from the Miami Dade RJDC recently honored the facility’s exceptional nurses with a breakfast for all to enjoy.

The nursing staff, led by Ron Ruel, RN, have created positive change at the detention center and have improved the services and care for youth each and every day. Miami Dade RJDC is proud to have such a dedicated staff working at the center. 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Prevention Assistant Secretary Honored for Volunteer Service

Assistant Secretary Alice Sims recently attended a volunteer appreciation breakfast at Pineview Elementary School in Tallahassee

Assistant Secretary Alice Sims recently attended a volunteer appreciation breakfast at Pineview Elementary School in Tallahassee. Assistant Secretary Sims and other outstanding volunteers were recognized for their volunteer service to deserving students.

Through the Ernie Sims Big HITS Foundation, more than 1,000 accelerated reading books were donated to incentivize students to reach their reading goals. Principal Carmen Connor recognized volunteers for countless hours donated to improve the academic performance of the students for the 2018-2019 school year.

Principal Connor also announced that volunteers donated a record high 5,000 volunteer hours this school year, which was substantially higher than last year.

The goal for the 2019-2020 school year is to match a mentor with each of the 360 students at Pineview Elementary to inspire them to excel in the classroom.

 


 

Fifteen associates from Publix came to the center and cleaned tables, chairs, and windows, in addition to other projects to make the center beautiful for the girls. The PACE Center for Girls in Pasco County was chosen as the location for the Publix store at Golden Acres to take part in Publix Serves Day.

Fifteen associates from the store came to the center and cleaned tables, chairs, and windows, in addition to other projects to make the center beautiful for the girls. The associates also met with some of the girls and left inspirational messages inside their lockers for each girl to enjoy.

Publix Serves Day is an annual company tradition that began in 2015. As a company, Publix set out to dedicate a day in which they bring together their time and talents to help locally in ways that align with their passion for improving our communities with a focus on youth, education, and the plight of the hungry and homeless.

 


 

The DJJ Prevention team conducted their annual staff training in Tallahassee

The DJJ Prevention team conducted their annual staff training in Tallahassee, where Deputy Secretary Tim Niermann offered greetings before Prevention Assistant Secretary Alice Sims delivered a presentation titled “Prevention Services – Celebrating Families.”

Prevention Services Training Coordinator Arthur Brandt spoke on “Conducting Effective Presentations.” Next, Scott Wright, an attorney in the DJJ Office of the General Counsel, spoke on the Florida Sunshine Law.

Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) & Disproportionate Minority Confinement (DMC) Coordinator Minnie Bishop delivered a disproportionate minority contact update before Deputy Director in the Office of Staff Development & Training Sonia Taylor stressed the importance of wellness and teambuilding in her workshop titled: “Start Strong, Finish Stronger.”

Operations and Training Director Yvonne Woodward and Training Specialist Shanteria Randall spoke on best practices for conducting teleconferences and Operations & Training Specialist Art Barndt provided a faith community network update. Chief of Policy Development and Planning Matt Hefelfinger provided a Detention Services update.

Sherry Jackson, delivered an update from the Office of Research and Data Integrity and Bureau Chief from Contract Management Beth Davis spoke on Program Accountability. Statewide Reform Coordinator Wanda Jackson offered an update about Probation & Community Intervention.

State & Federal Director Eugene Morris provided an update on the Department’s volunteer program initiatives and Legislative Affairs Director Rachel Moscoso provided an update on the legislative session.

Leon County Sheriff’s Office Detective Shade McMillian also conducted gang awareness training. Prevention Services Director Chris Lolley from the Ounce of Prevention Fund showed the movie “Resilience – The Biology of Stress & the Science of Hope.”

 


 

Delinquency Prevention Specialist Sandra Ferguson recently attended the Love One Another Community Prayer Breakfast in Fort Myers. Delinquency Prevention Specialist Sandra Ferguson recently attended the Love One Another Community Prayer Breakfast in Fort Myers.

The breakfast featured guest speaker Michael Hingson, who shared his remarkable story of surviving the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center with the help of his guide dog, Roselle. The event was coordinated by local faith-based organizations in collaboration with the City of Fort Myers and was followed by a program moderated by Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson. Local businesses and organizations annually step in to support the event through sponsorships and donations. The event is held annually to correspond with the National Day of Prayer.

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